Pictures from Rock and Shock 2013: Part 2

By Jason Harris

 

Author and NEHW member Erin Thorne.

Author and NEHW member Erin Thorne.

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Books on the Shock Totem table.

Books on the Shock Totem table.

Authors Jack Haringa and Bracken MacLeod on the Writer's Studio panel.

Authors Jack Haringa and Bracken MacLeod on the Writer’s Studio panel.

The Fat Foot Films booth.

The Fat Foot Films booth.

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Authors Stacey Longo, Erin Thorne, and Tracy Carbone at the New England Horror Writer booth.

Authors Stacey Longo, Erin Thorne, and Tracy Carbone at the New England Horror Writer booth.

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The Shock Totem team K. Allen Wood (editor-in-chief), Robert Duperre (writer), and Jessie Young (artist).

The Shock Totem team K. Allen Wood (editor-in-chief), Robert Duperre (writer), and Jessie Young (artist).

The Fat Foot Films 2014 calendar.

The Fat Foot Films 2014 calendar.

Scott Wilson of The Walking Dead.

Scott Wilson of The Walking Dead.

Jimmy Duval of Donnie Darko.

Jimmy Duval of Donnie Darko.

Pictures from Rock and Shock 2013

By Jason Harris

Another Rock & Shock has come and gone, the 10th one to be exact. It was another good one with even more vendors this year. The one thing that was lacking was attendees in costume. There just wasn’t a lot of people in costume. Here are pictures from the event.

Lew Temple from The Walking Dead.

Lew Temple from The Walking Dead.

From right to left: authors Robert Duperre, Kurt Newton, and Stacey Longo at the Sideshow Press and Shock Totem tables.

From right to left: authors Robert Duperre, Kurt Newton, and Stacey Longo at the Sideshow Press and Shock Totem tables.

Dark Man and Elvira.

Dark Man and Elvira.

Robert Patrick from Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Robert Patrick from Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Author Joe Knetter at the Writer's Studio panel.

Author Joe Knetter at the Writer’s Studio panel.

The Morbid Vision Films table.

The Morbid Vision Films table.

Sharknado director Andrew C. Ferrante.

Sharknado director Andrew C. Ferrante.

Actor Joey Kern (Cabin Fever).

Actor Joey Kern (Cabin Fever).

Musician and actor Dee Snider.

Musician and actor Dee Snider.

Author K. Allen Wood and artist Jessie Young behind the Shock Totem table.

Author K. Allen Wood and artist Jessie Young behind the Shock Totem table.

Actor Jason Mewes.

Actor Jason Mewes (Clerks).

Items on the Morbid Vision Films table.

Items on the Morbid Vision Films table.

TL Smokeshop.

TL Smokeshop.

Jennifer Jostyn (The Brothers McMullen).

Jennifer Jostyn (The Brothers McMullen).

Actor Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) with two fans.

Actor Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) with two fans.

Author Gordon Bean holding his book, Dawn of Broken Glass, at the New England Horror Writers booth.

Author Gordon Bean holding his book, Dawn of Broken Glass, at the New England Horror Writers booth.

Authors Scott Goudsward, Joe Knetter, Jack Ketchum, Jack Haringa, and Bracken MacLeod on the Writer's Studio panel.

Authors Scott Goudsward, Joe Knetter, Jack Ketchum, Jack Haringa, and Bracken MacLeod on the Writer’s Studio panel.

Actor Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever).

Actor Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever).

Actors Gunnar Hanson, Tony Moran, Robert Englund, and Kane Hodder on the 40 Years of Our Worst Nightmares panel.

Actors Gunnar Hanson, Tony Moran, Robert Englund, and Kane Hodder on the 40 Years of Our Worst Nightmares panel.

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Actor Brian O'Halloran (Clerks 2).

Actor Brian O’Halloran (Clerks 2).

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Items on the TL Smokeshop table.

Items on the TL Smokeshop table.

Books on the Sideshow Press table.

Books on the Sideshow Press table.

Pictures from Anthocon II

Pictures from Anthocon II

by Jason Harris

Half of author Jan Kozlowski and author Scott Goudsward.

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Writers Stacey Longo, Andrew Wolter, and Barry Dejasu.

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Artist Danny Evarts and editor Mark Wholley.

Shock Totem staff Sarah Gomes and K. Allen Wood at the Shock Totem table.

Author Rob Watts.

Author Gregory L. Norris.

Authors Stacey Longo, David Price, Craig D.B. Patton and Dave Goudsward.

The Goudsward brothers.

Author Tracy L. Carbone.

Authors Peter Dudar, L.L. Soares, and Scott Goudsward.

Author G. Elmer Munson (right) waits on a fan whose looking at the books on the NEHW table.

NEHW members Matt Bechtel and T.J. May talking.

Author Jack Haringa.

Writer Barry Dejasu.

Authors K. Ken Wood and Robert J Duperre behind the Shock Totem table.

NEHW members Stacey Longo, Tracy Carbone, Barry Dejasu, and Scott Goudsward.

Author T.T. Zuma (a.k.a. Tony Tremblay).

Author Stacey Longo.

Authors Bracken MacLeod and Andrew Wolter.

Author K. Allen Wood.

Author Kevin Lucia.

Authors Errick A. Nunnally and Stacey Longo.

 

Pictures from Rock and Shock 2012, Part 1

Author Trisha Wooldridge talking with author Jack Ketchum. Photo by Jason Harris.

From left to right: NEHW Co-chair Tracy Carbone, actor Sean Whalen, and NEHW Co-chair Stacey Longo. Photo by Jason Harris.

Actor Sean Whalen and NEHW Director of Publicity Jason Harris. Photo by Stacey Longo.

The Women of Horror panel: (from left to right) actress Heather Langenkamp, author Tracy Carbone, author Stacey Longo, author Trisha Wooldridge, and actress Lisa Marie. Photo by Jason Harris.

The Women of Horror panel: (from left to right) actress Heather Langenkamp, author Tracy Carbone, author Stacey Longo, author Trisha Wooldridge, and actress Lisa Marie. Photo by Jason Harris.

The Women of Horror after the panel. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Kristi Petersen Schoonover helps fellow author Trisha Wooldridge with her corset for Rock and Shock. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Bracken MacLeod is so excited to be at Rock and Shock; his left hand can’t stop moving. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Jack Haringa. Photo by Jason Harris.

From left to right: NEHW members Stacey Longo, K. Allen Wood, and Sarah Gomes. Photo by Jason Harris.

Authors Adam Cesare (holding a box of books) and Scott Goudsward. Photo by Jason Harris.

Authors Rob Watts and Kristi Petersen Schoonover talking at Rock and Shock. Photo by Jason Harris.

Candyman actor Tony Todd. Photo by Jason Harris.

Brian Anderson, of Waltham, MA., as zombie stormtrooper and Ghostbuster Travis Smith, of Providence, RI. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Rob Watts talking with author Stacey Longo in the NEHW booth at Rock and Shock. Photo by Jason Harris.

The other table in the NEHW booth. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Kristi Petersen Schoonover talks to Dr. Chris. Photo by Jason Harris.

Author Stacey Longo. Photo by Jason Harris.

The NEHW at Rock and Shock

The New England Horror Writers will be appearing at Rock and Shock this weekend. There will be plenty of members manning the booth all weekend. They will be selling and signing their books.Epitaphs is one book in particular which will be on hand. It’s the first anthology produced by the NEHW. This Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of this collection being published. Here are the authors who have stories in Epitaphs that will be at the convention this weekend: Mike Arruda, Scott Goudsward, Stacey Longo, Paul McMahon, Kurt Newton, L.L. Soares, K. Allen Wood, and Trisha Wooldridge. Tracy L. Carbone, the editor of the anthology, will also be on-hand.

Other NEHW members, who will be at the convention, are Ashleigh Homon, Adam Cesare, Bracken Macleod, David Price, Gene Munson, Jason Harris, Jack Haringa, Jan Kozlowski, Kelli Jones, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Matt Bechtel, Patrick Rahall, Rebekah Murphy, Rob Watts, T.J. May, Paul Tremblay, Bob Booth, and Jennifer Yarter-Polmatier.

They will also be four panels that the NEHW members will be involved in. This is the second year the organization has been on different panels. This year on the Women in Horror panel members , Carbone, Longo, and Wooldridge will be joined by Heather Langenkamp of Nightmare on Elm Street fame and Lisa Marie of Sleepy Hollow and Mars Attacks! fame.

The other panels will be “Breaking into the Biz” with Harris, May, Bechtel, and Schoonover, and “Horror in the Movies” with Harris, Longo, Soares, and Macleod.

‘A Good Turnout’ for ‘Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye’ Reading

‘A Good Turnout’ for Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye Reading

by Barry Dejasu

Author Paul Tremblay reading from Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye. Photo by Barry Dejasu.

About 15 people attended author and NEHW member Paul Tremblay’s reading of his newest book, Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye, at the Brown University Bookstore Wednesday evening.

Tremblay mentioned to his listeners that his book’s title came from a song by Neutral Milk. While writing Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye, he didn’t limit himself to any particular direction for the book, but rather let the story unfold on its own.

During the Q & A, there were a number of questions about his craft, both for his current novel and for his writing in general. Two of the questions asked of him if he intentionally took inspiration for certain characters and plot devices from works by Pynchon and Flannery O’Connor, which he hadn’t.

At one point, Tremblay talked about how he is drawn to creating empathetic characters, rather than sympathetic ones, which incited a projected conversation with some would-be naysayers.

“I didn’t like that book, because I didn’t like the main character, ” one naysayer said before ending their statement with an expletive.

There were several other authors in attendance including Paul DiFilippo, Jack Haringa, and John Harvey to support Tremblay.

A number of his books sold including No Sleep ‘Till Wonderland.

More Pictures from Necon 32

More Pictures from Necon 32

by Jason Harris

Author and NEHW member Peter N. Dudar getting ready to bowl at Dudek Bowling Lanes in Warren, Rhode Island.

NEHW member Barry Dejasu watches as fellow member Jason Harris bowls. Photo by Stacey Longo.

Writer Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel with a look on her face like a deer caught in headlights. Photo by Stacey Longo.

Author Peter N. Dudar (A Requiem for Dead Flies). Photo by Stacey Longo.

Author Peter N. Dudar (A Requiem for Dead Flies). Photo by Stacey Longo.

Necon campers from left to right: Peter N. Dudar, Steve Dorato, Barbara Gardner, and Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel. Photo by Stacey Longo.

A group shot of the bowling team bookended by its two cheerleaders. Photo by Jillian Booth.

Who Was That Masked Man? panel at Necon 32. From left to right, panelists Hank Wagner, John Mcllveen, Bob Booth, and Jack Haringa.

Who Was That Masked Man? panel at Necon 32. From left to right, panelists Hank Wagner, John Mcllveen, Bob Booth, and Jack Haringa.

Readercon, My Favorite Speculative Convention

Readercon, My Favorite Speculative Convention

by Bracken MacLeod

This past weekend in Burlington, Massachusetts I attended Readercon, a conference as they describe it, devoted to “imaginative literature” — literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called “slipstream.”

Bracken MacLeod and Lucien Soulban at Readercon 23.

This is one of my favorite speculative cons as it is devoted (like my other favorites, Necon and Anthocon) to literature–no cosplay, no gaming, and almost no media (there’s plenty of talk about movies in panels because movies can inform prose story-telling, but no movie panels). Although the conference is usually weighted a little more toward Sci-Fi and Fantasy than horror and slipstream, there are excellent horror writers in attendance like Gemma Files, Laird Barron, Nick Mamatas, to name only a few, and the guests of honor this year were dark fiction legends, Peter Straub and Caitlin Kiernan. Sadly, I will have to defer to other NEHW contributors for a recap of Mr. Straub’s contributions to the con as his panels and readings were concurrent with other panels I attended.1 Instead, let me give you a short recap of what were the high points from the panels I attended.

The dystopian fiction panel led by NEHW member Jack Haringa, “Through a Glass Dystopianly,” was an excellent deconstruction of the recent trend in YA literature to make everything The Hunger Games. I’m not being fair. There’s a lot of good YA (and adult) dystopian fiction out there. But there’s a lot of drek too. As a genre, Leah Bobet seemed to nail the intention of YA dys fic with her deliberate oversimplification of it as the literature of mom and dad (i.e., the repressive government) won’t let me have the car or stay out late, so I’m going to escape to the forest and drink and have sex as much as I want! Or if you prefer that idea to be unpacked, the idea being, that dys fic is a reasonably fertile ground for young readers to identify their own struggles with autonomy and authority by imagining themselves as potent agents struggling under the dystopian regime. When pressed on the issue of dystopia versus utopia versus post-apocalyptic setting, Haringa threw out my third favorite bon mot of the conference: “All science fiction is optimistic because it all assumes we have a future.”

Next on the list of favorites was the panel titled “Wet Dreams and Nightmares” about weird and transgressive erotica. This panel stayed blissfully distant from paranormal romance and actually addressed real erotica and transgressive sex in a mature and unflinching way. Would you expect anything different from a panel featuring Caitlin R. Kiernan? The give and take between Gemma Files and Kiernan regarding their distinct approaches to erotic body transformations and what they individually find sexy made this panel pure gold.

The panel on horror and the social compact (another one featuring Dear Leader Haringa) presented some interesting viewpoints on the scope of horror versus science fiction, wherein it was posited that it is actually very difficult to discuss horror in the context of a Hobbesian social contract. With a few exceptions (e.g., Soylent Green—which I’d say is both sci-fi and horror), most horror is about violation of trust and/or autonomy on a personal scale as opposed to a societal one.

This panel shared an interesting deconstructive quality with one on Sunday titled “Uncanny Taxonomies,” where the conclusion was also reached that taxonomies of speculative fiction (i.e., genres) weren’t all that helpful for anyone other than book marketers and possibly consumers. It was during this panel that Kiernan gave my second favorite line of the convention: “All [novels], by definition, are fantasy; they did not happen.”2

My second favorite session of the weekend was Dr. Laura Knight’s slideshow titled “Autopsy and Postmortem Primer for Writers,” which gave the audience a basic rundown of the process of a typical autopsy and human decomposition. The con organizers grossly underestimated the appeal of a dead body slideshow to fantasy and sci-fi (and a few horror) fans and about a quarter of the attendees to the session were left sitting on the floor or standing when all the seats filled up. One poor woman who was standing in the back of the hot room (possibly with her knees locked) fainted when Dr. Knight put up the slide of decompositional bloat and a little body degloving (I am sure the heat and having to stand were also contributing factors). Sadly, that attendee missed the next slide of the two people whose little yappy dogs had partially eaten their faces. (Cat lovers take note: Dr. Knight commented that in over 2,000 autopsies, she had yet to see a feline case of filiaphagia–but those nasty little dogs… they’ll turn on you in a minute.)

Finally, at the top of my list of favorite events at Readercon (unrelated to standing in a blacked out hotel bathroom staring at disintegrating atoms in a spinthariscope—look it up—and drunken yoga in the hotel lobby) was “A Story from Scratch.”

The basic conceit of the session (in several parts over three days) was that using models from the audience and props provided by celebrity guests, Hugo-winning writers Michael Swanwick and Elizabeth Bear will crowd source a story outline and write a short story to be professionally brought to life by photographer Kyle Cassidy and illustrator Lee Moyer. On Sunday, the story would be read aloud by Swanwick and Bear accompanied by a slide show of the work that Cassidy and Moyer produced. Bear provided a very condensed version of her course on effective fiction writing and the small crowd of participants began throwing out ideas for the story. What eventually took shape was the sad tale of a Chinese restaurant owner whose wife has been taken hostage by the Yakuza (I know), and must find the ransom before her wife (it is Massachusetts after all) loses all of her fingers and her entire memory (somehow stolen with each successive finger chop).

When the call was made for volunteers to be photographed by the amazing Mr. Cassidy, of course I volunteered. Given my cuddly and welcoming appearance, I was immediately cast as one of the Yakuza gangsters. The short version of the rest of the story is that, as one could predict, this became another instance of “and then Bracken took his shirt off” at a con. Fortunately, this bout of semi-nudity led to Cassidy and Moyer making me look like the coolest fucking American Yakuza since Viggo Mortensen and Bear and Swanwick crafting a Philip K. Dick style story containing my single favorite line of the entire Con: “Tom and Bracken were evil men, but not brutal.” (As soon as the story, titled “Dismemberance,” and photos are posted online I’ll be sure to link to them.)

The bottom line is, if you have a broad taste in genre literature, you could do a lot worse than attend a Readercon, but you’re going to be hard pressed to do better.
Cheers!

1 I know. I know. Revoke my horror fan card if you must.
2  Other excellent lines came from Michael Swanwick: “Wincing equals good fiction,” and Elizabeth Bear, “The worst reaction a reader can have to your story is ‘Fuck you!’”

Readercon 23 Begins Thursday

Readercon 23 starts tomorrow and runs until Sunday, July 15, at the Boston Marriott Burlington.

There will be four New England Horror Writers’ members, Don D’Ammassa, Craig Shaw Gardner, Jack Haringa, and Paul Tremblay, at the convention. For a list of other guests, click here.

Tremblay mentions his Readercon schedule on his website, which you can click here to see it.

Guests of Honor include authors Peter Straub and Caitlín Kiernan. The memorial guest of honor this year is author Shirley Jackson.

If you have a smartphone, you can download the Guidebook app then have the Readercon program at your fingertips during the entire convention.

If you tweet about Readercon, the official twitter account for the convention is asking people to use the hastag, #Readercon.‪